The Ethiopian Insurance Corporation (EIC) is recognized as the most reliable and financially strong insurance institution in Ethiopia. The following article gives a brief historical overview of Ethiopian Insurance Corporation and its current status.
The emergence of modern insurance business in Ethiopia traced back to the establishment of the first bank which was called Bank of Abyssinia in 1905. After many years of dragging feet in the business, the first domestic insurance company, namely Imperial Insurance Company was established in 1951.
Following the overthrow of the Imperial regime in 1974, the Provisional Military Administration Council (PMAC), came into being with the new economic system called command economy. Consequently, in December 1975, being after the thirteen private Insurance Companies nationalized, the provisional Military Administration Council issued Proclamation No. 68/1975 to establish the Ethiopian Insurance Corporation (EIC). As per this proclamation, the asset, liabilities and capital of all nationalized insurance companies were transferred to EIC.
According to proclamation 68/1975 stated the purpose of Ethiopian Insurance Corporation is as follows:
- Engage in all classes of insurance business in Ethiopia
- Ensure that services reach the broad masses of the people
- Promote efficient utilization of both material and insurance resources.
With regard to the power and function, this proclamation states the following:
…manage, administer, supervise and direct all insurance business transaction, and negotiate, arrange, underwrite and contract reinsurance treaties and policies with foreign re-insurance companies.
According to the Proclamation, Ethiopian Insurance Corporation had to be organized to have an insurance Board, a general manager, and deputy general manager. The nationalized insurance Companies were brought under a centralized management at the head office level, and the eleven non-life insurance companies were organized to form six regional Main non life Branches.
Accordingly, the nationalized Ethiopian Life insurance Company and the Ethiopian-American Life insurance companies were organized to be under the umbrella of the Life Main Branch. The branch organization is still functioning except that of Northern Branch which was representing the then Asmara administrative region.
The Ethiopian Insurance Corporation had been a monopoly for 19 years from 1976 unto 1994.
In 1991, the Dergue regime collapsed and consequent to that the economic policy of the country changed to a market economy. Following this, the then Transitional Government of Ethiopia (TGE) issued proclamation number 86/1994 which sates establishment of private insurance companies. Accordingly, Ethiopian Insurance Corporation was re-established as public enterprise under the Council of ministers Regulation no.201/94 with a paid- up capital of Birr 61, 007,038 (USD10.25 million at the prevailing exchange rate of 5.95/USD).
Currently, there are 17 insurance companies operating in the Ethiopia and Ethiopian Insurance Corporation has 40% of the market share at the end of year 2014 in the Ethiopian insurance industry. The total asset and capital of the Corporation as it is registered as at June 2014 is Birr 2.3 billion and Birr 435.8 million , respectively. The gross written premium (General insurance), reached 1.88 billion for the year ended 30 June 2014. The net income registered as at 30 June 2014 was 446.3 million. Over this period, Ethiopian Insurance Corporation has remarkably grown into a large company in the insurance services industry in the country. Today, it employs about 1,274 employees.
Ethiopian Insurance Corporation has diversified contacts with international insurers, associations of insurance, reinsurance pools, and reinsurance companies. In addition, it accepts inward insurance business coming from various international insurance companies and deals with Outward reinsurance business with the most renowned international re-insurers.
Additionally, Ethiopian Insurance Corporation is a member of national and international insurance and reinsurance organizations which include: the Ethiopian Insurance Association; Federation of Afro- Asian Insurers and Re-insurers; African Insurance Organization, and Organization of Eastern and Southern African Insurers. On top of this, EIC is a shareholder of African Reinsurance Corporation headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria and African Export-Import Bank, headquartered in Cairo, Egypt.